So you would think that after a long week of showing houses throughout Ulster County, from Woodstock to Saugerties to Stone Ridge & Hurley, that I would have not wanted to go and see anymore…….Wrong. After my appointments, I hopped in the car to meet my mother-in-law and her two girlfriends. We met up at the Tonner Doll Company Store where we gathered our maps, and the list of the homes that we were about to see.
The Junior League of Kingston’s Holly Berry Trail features extended previews of private homes in Ulster County that are fully decorated in holiday splendor inside and out. The location of each home is a closely guarded secret until the day of the tour when ticket holders receive a map to the homes and a booklet with detailed descriptions of the residences, many of which are historically significant to the Hudson Valley.
We first started out on our journey and saw three homes located right here in Kingston. The first house was built back as far back as 1885 with the exterior of brick, some of which has been decorated with black paint, and wood features of bay windows, window sashes and dormers. This romantic style home better known as chateauesque style was at the top of my list with the outstanding views of the Hudson River and the Historic Rondout.
We then ventured off to right around the corner to find this truly adorable home that looks like it came straight out of the Pottery Barn Catalog, decorated complete with ice skates hanging off the bedroom door. Built in 1898 this home offers an abundance of bluestone, from retaining walls to sidewalks. The original owners of this home owned and operated a bluestone quarry in Rosendale.
The third House in the Kingston area was one that was originally built as a vacation home on 40 acres right here in the city that was built by a doctor and his wife who was an accomplished artist that not only designed the house but also sculpted the Buddha, Tizo, the God of Childhood, that still remains in the garden today.
On the first snow fall of the year we got back in the car and headed south into the High Falls area where we had the pleasure of viewing the Jacob Hasbrouck House. This 18th century beauty was a pure delight to walk through. Every room was decorated in a fun, but yet tasteful way, from a jeweled Christmas tree and the most gorgeous mantle that I ever laid my eyes on complete with amber gold & silver lighting against the black background.
Our fifth house on the tour was that of a magical stone cottage build in the 1600’s nestled on 35 acres with weeping willows, oaks and maples that reflect along the banks of the duck pond. Currently being used as a day spa, this is listed in the national historic registry, and has the only known “free-flying staircase” in Ulster County.
After the stone house in Stone Ridge, we then headed back north to yet another stone house located in Old Historic Hurley. This 300 year old house overlooking the Esopus Creek originally built by Cornelis Kool is currently being used as a bed and breakfast. Beautiful and large rooms throughout this restored stone house that has architectural features dating back to the original Dutch settlement. They recently just opened up the beehive brick oven.
Lastly, but not least we ended up going up this long driveway that lead us to this large colonial complete with pillars and Santa’s sled greeting us as we walked in the front door. Large open floor plan lead us throughout this lovely family home with a warm and cozy fire, cookies and great company. What a way to end this fabulous tour. I for one will be definitely attending this Holly Berry Tour next year and all the years to come. After viewing all of these homes it made me get into the holiday spirit.